The first thing that comes to mind when one mentions Annie Leibowitz would be her striking photos of photographs of various celebrities. This exhibition not only invites us to share in these celebrities’ glory, but also to understand her largely unseen personal side.
Sprinkled like confetti between portraits of Donald Trump, Bill Clinton and Nicole Kidman are glimpses of Lebovitz’s family. In these black-and-white images, Lebovitz presents the raw emotion and experience. Rarely do you see a photograph of the ‘happy’ family; a typical photograph found in the family album. It is all about the intimacy, a characteristic not seen much in modern photography.
For me, the portrait of Al Pacino stood out among others. Shot in an empty studio and in monochrome, Pacino is pictured simply with hands in pockets. The message is conveyed very simply via the expression of his face.
Among the personal photographs, eight frames tell the story of a family trip to the beach. The backs of the children and mother can be very revealing (just like Winston Smith said).
All in all, a very revealing, and insightful exhibition. Followers of celebrities and art enthusiasts alike can learn something from the portraits, even if it is as small as understanding someone else’s family situation.
Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life, 1990-2005 is showing until 31 March at the MCA. Tickets can be booked online to avoid the queue.